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CACM Reports: Making Sense Of Data From Diverse Sources

September Issue Also Examines Ways to Improve World’s Education Standard

The Association for Computing Machinery
Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession

Contact: Virginia Gold

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NEW YORK, NY, September 8, 2008 – The September issue of Communications of the ACM (CACM) continues its recently expanded editorial scope with news, viewpoints, and features for computing practitioners, researchers, and educators. In the cover story review article, researchers at Microsoft and IBM present a guide to the tools and technologies that manage information integration from disparate sources.  In the Viewpoints section, two Rice University scholars envision a world where textbooks are free for all on the Web, and are adapted to many backgrounds and learning styles.  In the News section, readers get an update on the promise of two-way, real-time video.  The CACM Virtual Extension forWeb-only content offers a contributed article on an assessment of the potential for information and communications technologies (ICT) in schools.

            Communications of the ACM, the flagship publication of ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery), recently launched its new editorial focus and design format, offering readers access to this generation’s most significant leaders and innovators in computing and information technology.

            With the flood of information available to large enterprises in the digital age, many firms are spending significant segments of their budgets on “information integration” – combining information from different sources into a unified format.  The cover article “Information Integration in the Enterprise” by Philip A. Bernstein of Microsoft Research and Laura M. Haas of IBM Almaden Research Center explores examples of a typical integration problem, describes types of information integration tools used in practice, and reviews core technologies that lie at the heart of integration tools.

            Rice University professor Richard G. Baraniuk and C. Sidney Burrus, in a commentary titled “Global Warming Toward Open Educational Resources,” examine opportunities for significantly improving and advancing the world’s standard of education through the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement.  Taking its inspiration from the open-source-software movement, OER uses technologies like the Internet, the XML programming language designed to transport and store data, Web 2.0 tools, and advanced visualization and graphics tools.   Together with open copyright licenses, OER applies them to teaching and learning materials like course notes, curricula, labs, and textbooks to produce a world where textbooks and other learning materials are available in low-cost printed versions, adapted to many backgrounds and learning styles, interactive and immersive, and never out of print.

            In “Ubiquitous Video,” the news that scalable, distributed video coding is becoming a reality is based on a goal of removing the details that the human eye cannot see.  By setting aesthetic rules such as color and aspect ratio; tailoring the bit and frame rates for the highest picture quality at the lowest file size; and saving as much bandwidth as possible, video encoders can produce a digital video file for an iPod, laptop or cell phone.


          Other September CACM articles:

  • Randy Pausch, the late author of the best selling “The Last Lecture” and virtual-world innovator and leader of Alice, the 3D programming environment, shares in his own words (from an interview conducted weeks before his death) what he hoped would be the legacy of his pioneering work in virtual reality.
  • George Neville-Neil of Neville-Neil Consulting on navigating the well-traveled course of communication failure that often leads to engineering disasters with a cautionary tale of a 17th century Swedish naval vessel that sank on its maiden voyage.
  • Red Hat’s Matthew Garrett on doing more with the resources we have with smart power management in “Powering Down,” and the One Laptop Per Child XO machine as a case study in power management.

            The September issue is available online in the new digital format at

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.